The Pizza Man has become a fixture for the turf races at Arlington Park as he enters the Million on Saturday. Acoompanying him are several international contenders in addition to talented opponets Beach Patrol, Divisidero and Oscar Nominated. Additionally on the card is the Beverly D that features Dacita, Kitten’s Roar, Zipessa and several international runners.
Read Kellie Reilly’s international contender reports:
Arlington Million international scouting report: Fanciful Angel
Arlington Million international scouting report: Mekhtaal
Arlington Million international scouting report: Scottish
Arlington Million international scouting report: Deauville
Find all related stories in our Arlington Million day news and notes page.
Arlington Million Race Card Schedule
Gates Open at 11am
First Post is at 12:15pm
Admission is $30 Adult / $4 Youth
- Race 1 – 12:15pm
- Race 2 – 12:49pm
- Race 3 – 1:23pm
- Race 4 – 1:57pm
- Race 5 – 2:31pm
- Race 6 – 3:05pm
- Race 7 – 3:39pm – Secretariat S.
- Race 8 – 4:13pm – Bruce D. Memorial S.
- Race 9 – 4:51pm – American St. Leger S.
- Race 10 – 5:35pm – Beverly D. S.
- Race 11 – 6:19pm – Arlington Million XXXV S.
- Race 12 – 7:02pm – Pucker Up S.
Arlington Million Historical Trends and Tips
by Alastair Bull
First run in 1981 as the first million-dollar race in Thoroughbred racing, the Arlington Million has a distinguished history. It attracts horses from around the world to Chicago, and remains one of the most prized turf events in the United States.
The classy and incredibly hardy John Henry helped establish the race, winning in 1981 and 1984 on the way to Horse of the Year titles both occasions. Since then, it’s been a regular summer target for turf horses in North America and Europe.
One of the best handicapping puzzles on Arlington Million day is trying to establish how the European horses will go. To date, European horses have won 11 of the 34 runnings. In terms of class, Europeans, whose first surface is turf, will frequently have an advantage over locals, for whom the turf wasn’t always the first choice.
There often aren’t as many of the big-name European horses at Arlington Park as there are for the Breeders’ Cup. In addition, those that do come have spent most of their careers racing on roomy tracks with a very long stretch, and thus are not as familiar with tighter U.S. turf courses. Tracks in Europe can also be wetter than they are in North America.
So, when handicapping the race, look at whether the Europeans have form in North America, or form on firm tracks. If there’s evidence they can make up ground when rounding a turn, that’s also helpful; if you get a chance, maybe look at the horse physically and assess its athleticism to guess how it might handle turns.
Tight turf tracks can favor horses on or near the lead, but Arlington Park’s turf course usually gives horses a chance wherever they settle in the running, unless the early pace is unusually slow. Horses that settle off the pace need to be put into the race rounding the final turn, but they often prove more than capable of pressing on.
Mondialiste, winner of the 2016 Arlington Million, was an example, settling fifth on the outside before beginning his challenge near the top of the stretch and outfinishing Kasaqui, who had been sixth before finding an inside run.
He wasn’t the only one to win in this fashion last year. Sea Calisi was in the rear third of the field rounding the turn in the Beverly D but still won easily, while Noble Beauty was just as far back before winning the Pucker Up. Beach Patrol took out the Secretariat Stakes after settling third in the running on the outside, while Da Big Hoss was midfield in the American St Leger before making ground with three furlongs to run.
Generally then, it’s best to analyze form using all the normal tools. Usually, class wins out.